Water Damage Emergency: Steps to Assess Damage & Prepare for Restoration

24/7 Emergency Service
(800) 928-3732

Close up of a tool box with a plumber repairing broken pipes in the background

You walk into your home or office and notice water everywhere – it’s a panic-filled situation. While your mind is naturally racing, knowing how to address emergency water damage repair in an appropriate and thorough way will make the process much less stressful. Here are some helpful steps to take when you find yourself facing this type of emergency.

Assess the Damage

The first step in properly remediating the situation is understanding what type of water damage you have and if it is an emergency. There are three things to look for:

  1. The amount of water. Is an entire structure or floor flooded or is the water damage more isolated to a certain room or area? A burst pipe in your home or office building might be causing massive flooding, while an overflowing toilet may be a more localized water damage concern. The amount of water will tell you a lot about whether the situation is emergent
  2. The impacted areas. If carpeted areas in your home are soaked, that will require a more extensive cleanup than a stone, hardwood, or linoleum floor situation. While both certainly need attention, your remediation efforts will be different. Removing carpeting and padding will be a bigger job than vacuuming up water from a hard surface. See if the damage from an upstairs level has impacted the ceiling of the lower level and notice the damaged areas that need repair or replacement.
  3. The type of water. This is a key determinant in assessing the emergency of the situation. There are three types of water. Clean water comes from a burst or leaking supply pipe – there are no contaminants in it. An example of gray water would be an overflowing dishwasher – something that is not clean, but not septic. Finally, black or contaminated water would result from sewage backups, overflowing toilets, or any kind of flooding from massive rain or other weather events.

Now that you know the extent of the water damage and what type of water you are dealing with, you can assess whether you have a water damage emergency or you have water damage that you can manage on your own. If the situation is emergent, call a professional restoration company.

Residential  Water Damage Emergency: First Steps to Take

While waiting for the restoration company to arrive, there are some critical steps to take at your residential property.

  • Utilities. Turn off the electricity, water, and gas if it’s safe to do so. You want to stop the services from running and potentially causing more damage or safety concerns. Electricity and gas lines are more likely to be impacted in major loss events with large amounts of water. 
  • Take photos. If it is safe to walk around your home, take photos of the damage for your insurance claim. The restoration company should also do this, but it’s always good to have photos of your own.
  • Temporary relocation arrangements. Make any arrangements you need for family or pets who will be unable to enter the home until the restoration has been completed.

Commercial  Water Damage Emergency: First Steps to Take

You will follow similar steps for a commercial property water damage emergency with a few additional elements to consider.

  • Notify key building personnel. You will need to shut off water, electricity, and possibly gas to your building. If you cannot do this, you will need the appropriate building emergency personnel on-site to assist. This could be a building manager, maintenance person, or landlord. Even if you can handle the utility shut-offs, having the necessary building experts on-site or readily available is a good idea when the restoration company arrives.
  • Have a plan for managing staff and operations. Depending on the extent and location of the water damage, you need to make a plan for your employees, staff, and other building occupants. Can you keep the day-to-day business running as usual  while the cleanup and restoration take place? Can you maintain appointments and on-site commitments, or do you need to reschedule some things? Do you have another safe location for staff to work from, or can they work from home while the restoration company is on the premises? Communicate clearly with staff and all other stakeholders about how their roles may be impacted while the water damage emergency is being handled.
  • Take photos. Similar to documenting the effects of a residential property damage emergency, your insurance company will want photos if you’re planning on filing a claim. Take photos if you can safely navigate the impacted areas. Your restoration company can also do this if you don’t have the proper safety and protective gear to navigate the site.

Following the initial water damage cleanup, be sure to have the restoration company assess your property for any signs of early or potential mold growth that may have begun as a result of the water damage incident. This is likely a standard part of their process anyway, but it is important for you to be familiar with the matter as well. Mold spores from areas of established growth can travel through the air ducts to impact other areas of the building that were otherwise unaffected by the water damage situation. This is especially problematic for commercial buildings due to health, safety, operational, and liability concerns. 

Contact 1-800 WATER DAMAGE

For residential and commercial water damage situations, the trained professionals at 1-800 WATER DAMAGE can be your best resource in an emergency situation. We will provide an assessment so you know exactly what you are dealing with, and we will communicate thoroughly with you throughout the cleanup and restoration process.

You can reach us by calling 1-800-928-3732 or you can request service through our website. Professionals are available 24/7. 

This website uses cookies

We inform you that this site uses own, technical and third parties cookies to make sure our web page is user-friendly and to guarantee a high functionality of the webpage. By continuing to browse this website, you declare to accept the use of cookies.